U.S. Rep from Brownsville Quits Congressional Hispanic Caucus Over Immigration Bill

Jul 2, 2013
2:37 PM

This just in from The Houston Chronicle:


Texas Rep. Filemon Vela, who represents a South Texas border district, resigned from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in protest of the group’s embrace of a Senate immigration bill that contains millions of dollars for drones, fences and border agents, officials said Tuesday.

The first-term Brownville Democrat announced his decision to resign in a short email over the weekend following overwhelming Senate approval of the enforcement-heavy legislation.

Vela said he was concerned that the bill conditions a pathway to citizenship for people living in the country illegally on militarization of the border, including additional hundreds of miles of border fence.

“I hereby resign,” Vela said.

A spokesman for the caucus, Kristian Ramos, declined immediate comment on the resignation.

It followed an impassioned floor speech last week in which Vela invoked the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and its symbolism of unity and economic growth.

“Erecting more border fence drives a wedge between border communities which are culturally united,” Vela said.

The story also included the following:

The CHC did not officially endorse the Senate bill, although many of its members made statements of support following its passage in the Senate.

The resignation caught some by surprise. Democratic House members have praised the Senate legislation as an alternative to immigration proposals in the GOP-led House, which do not include citizenship.

The full story is here.

Last year, the CHC released a series of immigration principles for future reform.